Discussion of the plan to site a 200-bed emergency homeless shelter at the Barron Center site has included concepts such as One Portland, equity, transparency and stakeholders. Here is a partial list of people and organizations who were not consulted:

Nason’s Corner Neighborhood Association.

Residents of Nason’s Corner, including those who own property here.

Residents of Loring House, many of whom are elderly and already fearful.

Residents of Sagamore Village, which includes many small children and immigrants from many different countries.

Portland Housing Authority, which manages Sagamore Village and Loring House.

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Portland Public Schools, with responsibility for the safety of the children who will be attending the new Amanda Rowe School, including their walk to and from school.

Barron Center abutters.

Clients of the Oxford Street Shelter.

Our neighborhood carries a heavy burden of social problems and we are fighting blight. We already have drug dealing, homeless encampments and empty storefronts. We are next to two highway exits, which makes it convenient for dealers. It includes extensive woods, which will be impossible to monitor. Even if the shelter is successful, there will be people who do not want to come into the shelter because of their substance abuse problems, and there is also likely to be a problem with overflow. No one has answered my questions about what plans are being made to deal with this.

The secret selection process neglected one other important appraisal: a study of Nason’s Corner itself. There are so many reasons that this is the wrong place to site a shelter, and it is hard to believe that the city spent any time at all evaluating the characteristics of our neighborhood. We need to do better.

Diana Cundy

Nason’s Corner

Portland


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